Posts Tagged ‘Marvel Comics’

King-kirby

**Last Time On Superhero Satellite**

*The 5 Year Mission of The Superhero Satellite had ended with the disbanding of the mighty Super-Blog Team Up group leaving the Captain Of The noble retro seeking wonder of the space-ways to go deep into space sleep. The Satellite itself went into hibernation mode as all systems shut down with only vital networks left open to sustain function…or so we thought! Seemingly a glitch in the Satellites operating system re-activated the main computers AI.. slowly..systems restore as we are unsure were these directives are coming from as we are only to assume it is happening as a result of the ships internal Artificial Intelligence system itsself..the Living Computer…*

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“Systems…ALIVE..Access Consciousness Of The Captain.”

Transmission Date: 08/30/2017

I still remember the store like it was yesterday. The front doors opened up to a lobby where you could go one of two directions. To your left was another door with a set of stairs that lead to one of two medical clinics in my home town of Clarenville at the time. The second door lay straight ahead and led  to the Drug store below which happened to be one my favorite comic book buying haunts..Budget Drug Mart. As you passed the main counter and all the candy, confectionary, chips and soft drinks you had to take a sharp left and just down a little ways on the right stood the old comics rack! It was actually two long book racks built on to the wall. It was always impressively filled with all sorts of my favorite magazines like Pro Wrestling Illustrated, StarLog, and Fangoria to name a few. From time to time it also sold Presto Magic transfers from those very shelves as well! I came for the comics most of the time and it would be the place I would purchase many of my most memorable keepsakes.  IT was also the very spot I bought HEX #1 and my crown jewel G.I.Joe # 2 (Which at the time was rare people!!)  just before a camping trip!! My friend lived just a couple of houses up from the Drug Store so when I came to visit with him we would ALWAYS end up at Budget Drugmart and left with some comics!! Growing up in the early 80s many of the artists I was familiar with were Neal Adams, Gene Colon, Jim Aparo, John Romita Jr, John Buscema, and  John Byrne. to name a few. I was reasonably new to the hobby but it was those artists that had already spoiled me so badly in my formative years of comics art appreciation! Each one of those names were masters of the art and each book they contributed to was a thing of beauty to 11 year old me. I was more or less unfamiliar with any comics pre 1980 at the time as back issues were not readily available in my town unless you snagged a couple at a yard sale or if a friend or relative would visit another city or country. I knew one day I would love to be a comic book artist…I wanted to draw Batman like Colon or Aparo, I wished I could have the ability to draw Green Lantern like Adams!! Bottom line…at a early age I knew what I liked and disliked in a comic book. It was never about the stories for me..it was ALWAYS about the art work! My heroes looked a certain way…and thats what I expected every time I hit the spinner rack!

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In 1984 I was not only becoming a very hardcore comic book buyer but I also boasted a great action figure collection. I had The Six Million Dollar Man figures, I also had a ton of G.I.Joe and Masters Of The Universe figures. Of course my main collectible action figure line had to be Star Wars Toys. I loved action figures and I loved comic books…that was what I did!  With that said from a small collection of Mego figures I had few Superhero toys. Sure Batman, Robin, Superman, Spider-Man and The Hulk were available for me in my home town but that was it. I had no villains..only two vehicles (The Batmobile and Spider-Car).Megos didn’t play well with the 3 3/4 action figures from Star Wars or The Joes so my superheros sat in the toy box without any love as my play adventures surrounded a galaxy far away with some Real American Heroes!! Then came Super-Powers from Kenner…at last my prayers had been answered.

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The DC Super Powers Collection boasted a host of bad guyswithi the set and when they were released in store and I was all over them!! I had Batman, Robin, Superman, Green Lantern, Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Darkseid and plenty more later on!! They featured an action motion when a body part was manipulated. To things even more exciting DC was releasing a 5 issues mini series based on the action figure line!! The Comic Book ads featured great artwork by an artist who I felt created the absolute definitive look for the DC Universe in the 80s Jose Louis Garcia Lopez! Each character was perfectly captured and the thought of a Super-Powers mini series set my heart “AFlame”. So at some point in 1984 after seeing ad after beautiful ad by Mr. Garcia Lopez my friend and I took our regular jaunt to the Drug Store and there it WAS!! Super Powers #1!! The logo looked great and the cover colors flashy …but the cover artwork was TERRIBLE!!

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There was clearly something “off”. This comic looked NOTHING like the smooth definitive versions of the DC heroes like those featured in the ads and all over every piece of DC related merchandise out there in the main stream market. I remember commenting to my friend how “Stupid” Superman looked. on that Super Powers book. I was not a fan and even though I left the store with #SuperPowers No. 1.. I did NOT return for issue two. I didn’t look at the art credits at the time as artists names were not a thing for me to be concerned with. Visually however, I knew what I liked..and at that time it WASNT Jack Kirby. What did I know?? I was only a couple of years into my comics buying routine butI would learn a lot in the coming years!

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Comics were never red-hot in my town in 1984 but a war was happening in the industry for companies to make it in the very lucrative toy market in the early 80s. The competition would not be outdone as Marvel around the same time released their own 12 issue mega event called Secret Wars. I was a staunch DC kid but suddenly Marvel had my attention. DC had won me over with their Super Powers action figures but suddenly sharing the shelf was Marvel Secret Wars toys!! Now Spiderman, Wolverine and Captain America and a host of others had a popular toy line and a full comics limited series to coincide with its release. While I despised Kirby’s rendition of the DC Heroes on the covers of Super Powers Mike Zeck powered through an amazing looking Secret Wars cross over event!!

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For a moment, Marvel hooked me. The heroes were rendered in the hot style of the day and the storyline was far superior to that of Super Powers that was clearly written to sell toys. Secret Wars was created for the same purpose but felt like a real event. That Super Powers comic affected me so much I just wanted to try something new…Marvel.

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Comics stores began to pop up in the mid 80s. I remember hearing about a gentlemen in a nearby town who boasted a great comic book collection of vintage books. It was about 45 minutes away in a small town called Lethbridge. John Butt was the personable owner of this collection that he housed in a shed behind his home and he allowed me to come in to see his collection. John was an interesting gentlemen who looked like a later day elvis in his final days and the prototypical old guy next door. He was a salesman who knew this kid was NOT leaving his clutches without dropping some cash! As a kid I bought into John’s sales pitch as he walked me through his collection calling everything a “Nice Book”. I saw first appearances of Wolverine, The Punisher, The Red Skull, tons of old western comics and classic Marvel books all of which in Johns Opinion where “Nice Books”. I saw plenty of the very early Fantastic Four and X-men books and I was in awe The comics had bombastic covers and interiors that was old school but looked so different from what was on the shelf in 1985-1986. I only brought 40 dollars with me that day and did not walk out with much of anything outside of a 1970s Captain Marvel number one and a few other books that escape my memory…but my mind kept going back to those FFs and X-Men books!! I wanted to read those books and see what the early days of Marvel were all about. The images stayed with me for many months and I only recall going back one last time for some a Marvel Treasury Edition of Star Wars!! Worth the trip right!!

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In 1985 it seemed like my 11-year-old mind was put at ease as Marvel released a history of their universe in a recap title called Marvel Saga!! It was a monthly comic that attempted to take the Marvel Universe and detail it all in Chronolgical order featuring reprinted panels from the original books. I LOVED Marvel Saga!! I waited for it to land on the spinner rack every Thursday!! I loved the vintage artwork from Steve Ditko on Spiderman, JOhn Busema on Silver Surfer…and literall Jack Kirby on EVERYTHING ELSE!! !! It would be the issues featuring The Fantastic Four and The X-Men that hooked me! I loved the early visual of the characters…in fact I began to prefer it!! Little did I know it was the SAME artist that I trashed only a year earlier for his Super Powers work. I was beginning to enjoy Jack Kirby’s work and was totally oblivious to it as an 11-year-old kid!! Kirbys work had that retro quality that I loved and had a signature appeal that I did not see in anyoe since Ditko. From the FF to the X-Men..to The Incredible Hulk to The Mighty Thor and so many more..Kirbys footprint was all over the Marvel Universe!!

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Comic shops finally started to gain ground in the Province I lived in Canada. The Capital city featured two great collectible shops (Time Masters and Sword and Steel!! Name Drop!!) but my trips to the city (2 Hours from my home town!!) were so infrequent I could not rely on them for maintaining any sense of collecting. It was great for spot issues, but not much else. Several used book stores popped up in my town that featured great selections of comics! Rodways Office Supplies was literally what it sounded like.. an office supplies store that sold photocopys and staplers but they also managed to have 8 to 10 huge long boxes of comics and seemed to mix up their variety on a semi regular basis. They had books I had not heard about or saw before like Sgt. Fury and The Howling Commandos and Nick Fury Agent Of Shield! I was at the time a  Sgt. Rock fan and was semi familiar with Nick Fury from then modern 80s so Fury and his Howling Commandos were a sure grab for me!

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Around this time Machine Man had gone through numerous series and reboots that as usual were always promptly cancelled. I loved that character! Hence I managed to nab several issues of 2001 with Machine Mans early beginnings from the Rodways catacombs. He didn’t look like the Machine Man that I had recently bought off the racks by Ditko…whose version was loose and frankly a little sloppy..Ditkos Machine Man moved on the page like Spider-Man instead of a robot that he was. Barry Windsor Smiths version in the 80s Machine Man mini series looked a little too “man-like” and not robotic in nature. Dont get me wrong..the Machine Man Mini series was great but the art in that issue too didnt look “Machine” enough like I wanted my Machine Man to look. Kirby’s Machine Man felt properly alien as it should. Kirby was always sure to surround him with other worldly technology unlike anything drawn by other artists. No one did Machine Man like Kirby.

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As I read them I saw that familiar art and style..and something in me was drawn to that. I was raised on George Perez and Jim Aparo who had a more “realistic” style while Kirby had his own thing happening. Highly visual..very otherworldly detailed!! Sgt. Fury the same thing. While Kuberts Sgt. Rock was a very somber dramatic style to Sgt. Rock as it was about war after all…Kirby gave Fury a more lively feel! It was fun, bombastic and full of life. Bullets and action jumped off the page. Very stylilized…very high energy art..both Fury and Machine Man shared Jack Kirby as their artist. It was here I fully began to recognize and appreciate the style. I could decipher Kirby’s work from everybody else now. Now I looked for it! It became a hunt for me..and a very fun one!

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By 1987 my Comics passion was at an all time high. In my teenage mind I considered myself a serious collector. I was buying higher priced comics, 1st appearances, Gold Key books, and classic books and what ever Overstreet Price Guide told me was a “Hot” book I tried to  hunted down. I felt like I knew my stuff. I knew for example that a “Frank Miller Daredevil” with the Death Of Electra was a “hot book”…and how much it was worth in various cycles of condition. Yep this comics kid was becoming John Butt level comics savant at the age of 13!! Now I knew who Jack Kirby was..as I explored what my dream list of comics would be, Kirbys name was attached to almost all of em. Fantastic Four, Avengers, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk..all Kirby!! His name was attached to so many books..

Kirby Classics

There were elements of his work that no one else could properly duplicate…at least at the time. The first thing that hits me about a Kirby work was his use of hands..his characters are always reaching for something..and you know what..it looks damn cool!! His characters jumped off the cover page at you!! Everyone jumped…everyone leaped..there was movement at every stroke!! Bodies contorted to portray the full swing of a punch, the throwing of a shield, or the swinging of a hammer

The Kirby Reach

Kirby created universes..landscapes..worlds that could only come from his imagination. His World Building is something he took with him no matter what company he worked for. His work on Marvel properties like The Silver Surfer, Thor and The Inhumans stretched the boundaries of what alien environments looked like visually. Large elaborate worlds bursting at the seems with bright visuals, extremely detailed robust costuming, backgrounds and staggering technology that only Kirby could depict!

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There is no way to put it in words Kirby’s use of detail. The level of detail he CREATED was over an above what everyone else did at the time. A simple computer or gun was excessively detailed and visually breathtaking!!Kirby Machinery

His use of costuming was on another level. He added detail so foreign and so elaborate many artists could not even imagine it..let alone put it on paper!!

Celestials Kirby

He built universes outside of the regular Marvel and DC Universe’s all his own that other artists and writers stayed away from by in large. Kirby’s vision of what space looked like and what alien planets, people and technology were visualized as was so very organic! In comparison it felt that when other artists created things.. Kirby was always a million years beyond them. Concepts like The Inhumans and the birth of Marvel Cosmic is all Jack Kirby. Kirbys forray into DC Comics after his well documented fall out with Marvel also allowed him to build a brand new foundation all to its own with characters like the New Gods and The Forever People..all high concept work that few outside of Kirby would dare touch!!

Forever and Inhumans

DC would designate a full pocket of their universe to Kirby affectionately known as the Fourth World where luminaries like The New Gods, Mr. Miracle, The Forever People, Darkseid and literally millions of others resided. Kirby had his own world to play in and because of the stroke that he had in the business he was given a blank cavas to work from.

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Many of these properties are still in use today with Marvels Inhumans television series about to debut very soon! The Marvel cinematic universe is filled with Jack Kirby created concepts and making billions for Marvel and Disney to this very moment. Kirby’s legacy is everywhere in pop culture and its hard to deny that his title as King Kirby is surely the fitting crown.

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So as I flash back to 1984 at Budget Drug Mart as I hastily cast dispersions on the cover art for that Super-Powers book…this is my apology letter to the architect of comic books that I hold so dear. Thank You Jack Kirby… for creating my childhood…ALL HAIL THE KING!!

KIrby Drawing board

End Transmission….

Creation

**ASSUMING CONSCIOUSNESS**

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END OF LINE…

More #Kirby100 Fun continues with my favorite bloggers on the web!:

Satellite Ends

Comic Reviews by Walt
Between the Pages
Coffee and Comics Podcast
In My Not So Humble Opinion
Chris Is On Infinite Earths

The Crapbox of Son of Cthulhu

Fantastic Four #1 Review

 

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“We have a new character in the works for Strange Adventures, just a five-page filler named Dr. Strange. Steve Ditko is gonna draw him. It has sort of a Black Magic theme. The first story is nothing great, but perhaps we can make something of him! Twas Steve’s idea..!”         Stan Lee- Comics Reader Interview 1963

“When like minded bloggers come together to write on a singular topic on a singular day the blogosphere bends at their mercy….they are called Super-Blog Team Up. Their mission is to provide a “Magical”blogging experience to our readers and share the words from the edges of the blogging universe under one banner. Welcome to the mighty SBTU…for our older fans…welcome back!!”

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From the moment I saw David Copperfield make the statue of liberty disappear I knew I loved Magic. I was always the “How did they do that?” Kid. The secrets however most times were better as secrets as sometimes the belief in the trick is what makes it fun. When it came to “Magic” in comics most of what I had read came from DC in the very early 80s. Whether it was the Golden helmet of DC’s own wizard of the Supernatural Dr. Fate or the Top Hat and Fishnets of Zatanna. If I really wanted more  I also had the likes of The Phantom Stranger and Deadman.The DC is where I lived as a kid!
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While I was an ardent DC fan none of those characters ever struck a real emotional chord with me. There are stories of the infamous Marvel bullpen and all the creative inspirations that resulted from the recreational activities of Stan Lee and company. During the 60s and 70s Marvel were banging out plenty of new concepts and titles. Lee met with Spider-Man power artist Steve Ditko and proposed a new concept that played into his strengths as an artist…one that Stan Lee would actually NOT take credit for!
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Steve Ditko’s tale of a self-centered , materialistic Surgeon who is involved in a career ending car accident and reflects on a life takes to the Mountains of India to find himself. What he finds is the Ancient One who opens his eyes to the world the Mystic Arts making him into the eternal Earths defender from the evils of Black Magic!! Hence is born Dr. Strange! Strange was a classic product of the Marvel Method of making their Heroes “real” like normal people who happen to be living super heroic lives…The Doctor was no exception.

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What made Strange different was that could exist in other world dimensions. Ditko was a master of developing unique settings for his characters. His creator set Steven Strange in a bizarre geometric weirdo worlds beyond description. Ditko took simple circles, triangles and squares, mix them with moons, smoke and floating eyeballs and you have the multiple mystic dimensions in the mind of Steve Ditko and it was like nothing ever seen on the printed page before.

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Personally the character has always been a struggle for me. I loved the youthful energy in books like Spider-Man or the swagger of Millionaire Bruce Wayne and his many gadgets as Batman. Strange was always ..well..Strange to me. The middle-aged, moustached man in pajamas who was able to harness magic. He was not the Super Heroic looking enough for my 9-year-old mind. I always wondered what it would be like I drew a new Dr. Strange and what he would look like? I would do away with the pajamas and sash and by god he would be cool. Well others felt the same way I did. The Doctors title was in serious jeopardy of cancellation and the new creative team headed by master horror artist Gene Colon decided the good Doctor needed an update!

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In Doctor Strange #177 Doc’s classic costume was replaced with a flashy skin-tight unitard some slick new boots and gloves! The most glaring change was that he was also masked!!?? Roy Thomas the famous Marvel scribe penned a reason for the change where Strange’s nemesis  Asmodeushad literally taken the place of Steven Strange’s identity on Earth, while trapping  the real Doctor in another dimension.  The only escape, the Doctor needed to transform himself to free himself from his dimensional trap!

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Colon did his best to make this work and actually did a fine job of switching the character out of his geometric Ditkonian dimensions to a more realistic looking alternate universe.though as with every major costume change it would eventually revert to his original garb in issue #183. I realized after reading these issues many years later that some characters are not cut from the typical mold and intended to stay that way!! So as much as I hated the baggy panted middle-aged magician look it is one of those iconic looks that simply defies age. So if you have never picked up a comic book in your life..or just a fan of the supernatural genre pick up some classic  Strange books in the quarter bin and check out the big screen debut on Nov.4 2016!

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SBTU Continuess Below…be sure to check em all out!!

LongBox Graveyard: Doctor Strange vs. Dracula

Between The Pages: The Wondrous Worlds of Doctor Strange

DC In The 80sMagic edition: examining The Immortal Doctor Fate v1 (1985)

The Unspoken Decade:Nighttime Sunburn: Rise Of The Midnight Sons

Crapbox Son Of Chuthulu: The Makings of a Sorcerer Supreme: Optimism and Sacrifice

Chris Is On Infinite Earths Blog:Batman Visits the Sanctum Sanctorum

Coffee and Comics Blog:Review: Doctor Strange #84

The Daily Rios: Amalgam Dr Fate / Dr Strange

The Retroist: The OTHER Dr. Strange Film

The Super-Hero Satellite: You are here already!!

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SBTU8 OFFICIAL Banner

Greetings Super-Blog Team Up fans..the band is back with another tale to weave into the fabric of the blogosphere. This round we tackle “Versus”. If you are reading this years from now some context is needed. In this year of 2016 Super Hero films are still big bucks at the box office and both Marvel and DC are hanging their hats on two films where their main “Good Guy”characters square off one on one. Dc’s Batman V Superman debuted to mixed reviews but a very large draw and is still making big money as we speak. On may 6th Marvel takes their shot in the war with Captain America: Civil War which trumpets the big battle between Marvels head honcho Captain America and Iron Man! Both films promise a full-scale battle of Hero vs Hero.

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Fortunately comic book history is filled to the brim with tale after tale of Earths mightiest heroes battling each other, even villains vs villains, not to mention Super Team vs Super Team! So many examples of epic battles with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Some battles have loved ones in danger and others where heroes secret identities hang in the balance. It brings us great pleasure here at The Superhero Satellite to bring you none of that! In fact this may be the shortest battle of Hero vs Hero in the history of comics. Without further adieu I present to you the moment when the Dark Knight, The Caped Crusader, The Bat, Batman took on the galaxies greatest protector, The GREEN LANTERN!! Okay…its Guy Gardner but he is a Lantern darn it! Anyways..on with the show..strap in and let’s get going to 1986..

Begin Transmission : May 4th 2016

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DC had finished their massive crossover Crisis On Infinite Earths as detailed gloriously in past Super-Blog Team Ups and was looking to clean up many loose ends that resulted in its conclusion! Believe us there were a ton of them! The company decided after successful reboots of their core characters that they would pull all loose ends together into a bright red bow and make sense of all the individual titles by reforming their Super Team….The Justice League Of America! John Ostrander and Len Wein were the scribes in charge of reuniting DC’s heavy hitters under one banner. The story would be called Legends and it would take place over the course of 6 issues and multiple crossovers . It would be a jump on point for new readers and launched several new titles such as Flash, Suicide Squad and the brand new Justice League. In the story Darkseid wages a bet with Phantom Stranger that he will turn the world against earths Superheroes and uses a human political pawn as his catalyst. The end result sees DC’s finest come together to seemingly reform the Justice League and thwart Darkseid’s somewhat silly plot. Legends #6 boasts an all-star line up for the Justice League boasting Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Shazam, Black Canary, Guy Gardner, Dr. Fate , Changeling, Martian Manhunter and Blue Beetle! The band was back together and DC fans were excited for this league to continue on and protect this new DC Universe, Post Crisis. All was right with the world again…or was it?

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Sadly this League would dissolve quicker than it came together. Superman declined the invite, Wonder Woman walked away quietly, Changeling went back to his gig with the Titans and Flash sped away disinterested in being bound to a team. It seemed the rug had been pulled out from fans who had suffered through some bad times in Justice League history with the ill-fated Justice League Detroit (which actually kicks some major ass and is a very fun read!) and With many JLA heavy hitters seemingly out of the mix for the next round of this new league, The new groups prospects of commercial success seemed significantly less. How can we have a JLA without the Trinity? (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) Well Writer/ Artist Keith Giffen along with J.M. Dematteis and Kevin Maguire would roll out the LEAST likely band of misfits the Justice League banner had ever seen.

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So was born the Justice League International or the Bwah Ha Ha League as it is fondly recalled by the comics faithful. Giffen and DeMatteis would bring a very lighthearted comedic tone to proceedings.

The famous Justice League #1 from May 1987 sported one of the most copied covers in comics history with a family picture sort of cover sporting this new team with some very suspect looking participants. While the team boasted classic JLA heavyweights such as Batman, Martian Manhunter, and Black Canary it also assembled a far more unique crew than the JLA had ever seen. Many of which were imports from DC’s recent acquisitions from Charlton Comics, Fawcett, and the Kirby verse. The Blue Beetle, Mister Miracle, Oberon , Shazam and a brand new Version of Dr. Light rounded out this roster. One member however stole the cover with the now famous “Wanna make somethin of it??” Guy Gardner, a relatively lesser known member of the illustrious and complicated Green Lantern Corp filled out the roster. It was apparent that Gardner was bringing the “Attitude” to its ranks. One look at Batman’s face knows this team is already in trouble.

Gardners debut

 

 

For those not familiar with the Justice Leagues newest Green Lantern would quickly grow to love the renegade Lantern. He originally debut in Green Lantern Vol. 2 Issue 59 and from the get go we know that this Green Lantern didn’t play by the rules. In this issue The Guardians give Green Lantern Hal Jordan a lesson in humility by showing him what would have been if Guy Gardner had been selected by Abin Sur to wear the famous Green Power Ring rather than him. We can all be thankful it turned out the way it did. During his travels Gardner would be passed over many times to lead the Lanterns in favor of Hal Jordan and John Stewart but always held to his guns that HE was the one destined to lead the team…alas at the time this did not come to pass however it would be a core reason why he was tormented by being subservient to another leader.

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Guy went headlong into battles with DCs greatest rogues gallery would find himself in a bad situation in DC’s fabled Phantom Zone where he would be beaten into oblivion and permanently injured. A victim of brain damage, Guy as a result was a moody , self indulged prick who commanded the leadership of the JLI. Gardner however was not taken seriously by his new team mates. This certainly wasnt the Green Lantern Corp. anymore!! Joining a new group would be a little “problematic” for Guy as we will see..

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We all know the story of the Batman. Avenging his parents death, Bruce Wayne goes on a mission to rid the world of evil doers. Along the way he gains multiple sidekicks with Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Superman and many others. For all intents and purposes..Bruce Wayne was never good with relationships and no matter if it was with a partner, a love interest, or a Super Team, Batman’s relationships always turned out badly. Batman would be part of The Batman Family, The Justice League Of America and even The Outsiders…all of which were dysfunctional relationships to say the least.

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Batman as well was never one for playing second fiddle to anyone and usually assumed the leadership role as would be the case with the latest incarnation of the Justice league International. After the downfall of Justice League Detroit former Leader, Martian Manhunter was reluctant to put the lives of another team in his hands as he felt squarely responsible for their demise. Batman took the reins while the group was in their bonding period. However…unlike anyone he ever teamed with, Guy Gardner was NOT a team player and it was up to Batman to put him in line. It was the battle of wills..The mysterious Batman VERSUS an ultra powerful ring wielder who has the power of the universe at his hands…only one would prevail in a Game of Thrones.

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From the opening page of Justice League #1 Vol. 2 1988, Gardner was already front and center and plotting to do a grand take over of the leadership position of the mighty newly reformed Justice League. Tensions would fly at their first ever meeting as a group..and Gardner and Batman would get their first taste of each other..it was NOT love at first sight!

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In fact Gardner’s overtures towards the leadership position would not only be rejected but it would lead to an all out breakdown of the team only in their first organized group meeting. Batman could see right away that despite his reluctance to once again lead a super team…this boat needed a captain..and FAST!

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With Gardner upstaged in front of the team, it would not only intensify the fire between Bats and Guy. It was just the start in a series of confrontations..as Batman attempted to instill a sense of protocol to proceedings Guy would be there to challenge his every word..

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Guys temper would make for some tense moments in the team’s business. Gardner had no respect for Manhunter’s word despite Jonzz being a longstanding leader of the original Justice League Of America. Guy also would have none of The Big Red Chesse’s (Shazam) words either, but when it came to Batman, Gardner would dare not step any further.

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Batman would literally become Guys babysitter. At every outburst or irrational thought, Bats was there to shut Guys outbursts down and amazingly there was zero retaliation..

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Despite Guys reluctance to fight Batman, he would antagonize The Dark Knight at every opportunity. Both parties were now in the advanced stage of their passionate dislike for each other. Gardner took every shot he could whether on the battle field or in front of their peers. Serious group debriefings were fertile ground for Guys barbs….as Batman continued to make mental note of his detractors poor attempts to get under his skin.

 

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Batman continued to hold the Lantern at bay, but when the League had their back against the wall, Gardner challenged Batman’s leadership for the last time. The defiance, the outbursts, the smart remarks and the tantrums would come to a head. Gardner would build up the courage to put the money where his mouth was as once and for all, Guy Gardner challenged Batman for the coveted Leadership position of DC’s high-profile flagship super group.

Guy confronts Batman

All the pent-up frustration..all the years of being held back by his peers in the Green Lantern Corps and now again in the Justice League. Gardner even removed his power ring and with no more fear in his heart, Guy Gardner BIT!!

I Bite Guy Punches

Guy Gardner handed his ring to Blue Beetle and rushed furiously towards Batman and FINALLY these two rivals would square off one on one, head to head in a battle to end all battles this war was finally settled…

The Punch

With ONE Punch…

Guy Recovers

What? Were you expecting something different? A bigger battle? A drawn out brawl over the course of six issues? Nope not here…sometimes less is more. Masterpieces are not created in one stroke of the brush…this rivalry was the exception. Batman would go on to leave the League a short time afterwards but Guy would still not achieve the top spot. Batman would go on to lead again and even Guy many years later, would finally get his respect as a Leader in the Green Lantern Corps...but that my friends is another story for another day. If you are hungry for a fight the battles continue with our group of Fellow Super Bloggers…read more below!!

SBTUContinues below

 1. Between The Pages : “Star Wars Versus…” http://betweenthepagesblog.typepad.com/between-the-pages-blog/2016/05/star-wars-versus.html

2. Crapbox Son Of Cthulhu: Jack Of Hearts vs ROM!! http://crapboxofcthulhu.blogspot.com/2016/05/super-blog-team-up-versus-edition.html

3. Chris Is On Infinite Earths Guy Gardner vs Blue Beetle! http://chrisisoninfiniteearths.blogspot.com/2016/05/justice-league-america-52-1991.html

4. LongBox Graveyard: Fire and Water: Human Torch vs Submariner https://longboxgraveyard.com/2016/05/04/fire-and-water-the-human-torch-vs-sub-mariner/

5. Coffee and Comics Blog: Spiderman Versus Ghost Rider http://coffeecomicsreading.blogspot.ca/2016/05/marvel-team-up-91-1980.html?m=1

6. In My Not So Humble Opinion: Captain America vs Wolverine https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/captain-america-vs-wolverine/

7. Bronze Age Babies: Civil War – Silver Age Style! Tales of Suspense 58
http://bronzeagebabies.blogspot.com/2016/05/super-blog-team-up-civil-war-silver-age.html

8.Superhero Satellite: Super-Blog Team Up 8: Batman vs Green Lantern (Guy Gardner) – http://wp.me/p2N3Qb-M8

9. The Unspoken Decade: War Machine vs Cable
https://theunspokendecade.com/2016/05/04/sbtu-presents-vs-war-machine-vs-cable/

10. The Retroist: The Joker vs Sherlock Holmes http://www.retroist.com/2016/05/04/super-blog-team-8-joker-sherlock-holmes/

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When it comes to X-Mas all my readers know I am more than a little sentimental. Whether its the music, the food, or the Christmas catalogues, we all know the selfish side of us love one thing…THE GIFTS!! The old saying goes “It is better to Give Than Receive..” we all know its pretty damn cool to receive as well! This December my family have a very important date planned to share a fun event and that on December 18th. The 18th and not the 25th you may ask? That’s not Christmas you say..whats so important about December 18th? I call it a Geeks Christmas as fans worldwide will finally go to theaters to watch the debut of Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens! Select members of our esteemed SBTU Crew have gathered around the Satellite Holo-tree and share our memories of a Galaxy Far Far Away… Pour Up some Egg Nog Heroes, and join us as we raise a Holiday Glass to Star Wars!

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Begin Transmission: Dec 16th 2015

As a child Star Wars was more than a movie. It occupied a large portion of my childhood through Movies, Comics, and our topic today the Original Toy-Line! Many an hour was spent playing with these little plastic toys and their very cool accessories and vehicles creating my own episodes of the Star Wars Saga! Well in 1977 the Kenner Toy Company was more than willing to fill kids wishes in the valued 4th Quarter and as the holiday season approached Star Wars was at a fever pitch. Kenner was primed to deliver a massive influx of cash towards their companies bottom line and win the Christmas season. They would be conquering heroes of the lucrative Toy Market…then it happened. The production team could not deliver the toys to market in time for the Golden Holiday Season. In an act of desperation Kenner created the Early Bird Package. Yes under the tree at Christmas Star Wars fans in 77 opened ……(Drum Roll Please!!) an ENVELOPE!!!??

 

 

Starwars Early Bird

The STAR WARS EARLY BIRD CERTIFICATE PACKAGE (1977)

Kenner could not deliver the figures but to pad their losses they went for a “Made” money approach. Customers would be “promised” the action figures later in 1978 if they purchased the Early Bird Certificate Package. The package would include 4 items including a Certificate that you would have to mail in that was good for 4 Star Wars figures that would be mailed to your home between Feb. 1st 1978 – July 1st 1978.

Star Wars Early Bird Back

(Back) The Original Early Bird Set Did NOT Include Han Solo, Darth Vader, or C3-Po? The Original promised line up were Chebacca, Princess Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, and R2-D2

So you may ask what was a kid supposed to do with a stupid Early Bird Certificate? There were a series of steps involved.

  1. Open your Certificate Envelope.

 

Star wars Early Bird 3

Fill out your Name and Address on BOTH portions of the Early Bird Certificate!

2. Tear Off Your Proof Of Purchase Card, write the date you mailed your Star Wars figures and store it in your records.

PofP Coupon

 

 

3. Set Up your STAR WARS Display Diorama that is included in the set! I will admit. I was a sucker for displays and playset’s especially when it comes to STAR WARS toys! The Display set itself was cheap but pretty nice! Collectors still struggle to find these in great condition and that is part of the charm of being an Early Bird Customer!

star-wars-early-bird-certificate-photos-from-kenner-77-merchant-catalog

4. Next. Enjoy your enclosed set of STAR WARS Stickers! The detailing on the stickers were a little lackluster. It is clear that Kenner was struggling to rush something…anything, to market that Christmas in 77.

Early Bird Stickers

Early Bird Star Wars Sticker Set included with Kenners Early Bird Package

Once you have mailed off your certificate…all you had to do now was….WAIT. Fortunately for Kenner they were able to meet the deadline and there were no further delays and the very FIRST STAR WARS FIGURES ARRIVED in Feburary of 1978!!

Star Wars Early Bird Open

The Original 4 STAR WARS Figures from 1978!

The Figures came shipped with a Thank You card, a white packaging tray and action figure stand tabs to insert into the base of the diorama display set included in the early bird package. As the saying goes “Good Things Come To Those Who Wait” applies to this situation as folks who were fortunate enough to purchase this Early Bird Package received possibly one of the most coveted Action Figure in the history of Action Figure Collecting! That figure would be the Double Telescoping Lightsaber Luke Skywalker. This figure is so rare that it was even featured on a recent episode of AMC’s Comic Book Men!

 

Doubletelescoping_right

As cool as it sounded have a lightsaber tip that extended much further than many other of the like models of that particular original Luke. However it was disheartening to know it was very poorly crafted and the tip itself often bent easily making your lightsaber look very stupid. Check poor Luke above.

Chewbacca Early Bird

 

Included in the early Bird set as well was a not quite as rare as the Luke mentioned above) was a unique Chewbacca with a Greenish tinted  molded Bow Blaster rifle was shipped with all early shipments of this set making it a very sought after variant! True fan boy collectors know that the early bird set with variant Luke and Chewie is a rare gem in the collecting universe!

Star Wars Original Collection

While I did NOT have the good fortune of buying the Early Bird Packages in 1977 (I was only 3!!) I did however have the complete set of original action figures and still boast 75% of them to this day! Nothing were quite like the original toys.Yes they had far less articulation than their modern day relatives but they represented a changing of the guard in the action figure industry. The figure market that was previously dominated by bigger versions of action toys like the old 12 inch G.I. Joe figures as well as the middle sized and super fun MEGO collections popular in that day were replaced with the official dawn of the 3 3/4 era action figures when Star Wars fever hit!

 

Original 1978 Star Wars Commercial

Of course I was a collector who on every possible allowable occasion  would get one of these gems at the store. I was too young to enjoy the Early Bird experience however, by the time the Empire Collection arrived this Hero was in full Star Wars Collecting Beast Mode!

Vintage-The-Empire-Strikes-Back-Action-Figure-Case-Art-Magnet

At this point in the 80s however, leaving your figures mint on card was not an option, so all of my toys were open and well played with especially the Star Wars originals! I had plenty of vehicles and play-sets to go along with my figures so I basically felt like I had my own galaxy! I had an X-Wing, Darth Vader Tie Fighter, the AT-AT Walker, Boba Fett’s Slave 1,and many more! As for Play-Sets, I was fortunate enough to acquire Hoth, Cloud City, Dagobah, Jabbas Palace and the Grand Daddy of them all The Millenium Falcon! Of course as discussed in a previous Satellite post about my favorite Christmas Gifts I also had The Death Star!! Overtime..things broke, pieces went missing, poorly conceived trades occurred and my collection slowly died.

Death Star Vintage Toys

My collecting twilight was in my adulthood just at the time that it was announced that the Prequel movies were being released. The much maligned Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace was on its way and fans worldwide were exploding with anticipation as I was! I began re-building my collection. eBay was in its infancy and many folks didnt truly know how to post auctions and occasionally  a seller would post something under a weird category and literally get zero interest. As was the case with an original Star Wars Action Figure collection. Like a speculative comics fan in the 90s who thought they would send their kids to college with their fortune they would amass after selling their collection I lucked into a carded original Star Wars Action figure set of 7 figures and bought them all for 10 dollars!! The figures were improperly categorized under “Dolls”and as a result I was able to jump start my collection!

Impossible eBay Auction

Random eBay Auction Where You Can Still Get Lots Of Vintage Star Wars Stuff!!

From there I regained a Millenium Falcon, a AT AT Walker, new models of Star Destroyers, X-Wings, Tie Fighters, I even completed my Marvel Comics Star Wars collection and added a horde of new mint on card action figures! I even built myself my own collection room and filled it with mostly Star Wars merchandise! The ultimate geek cave was born!

 

geek06

I remain a true STAR WARS Geek to this day!

All would change one fateful day when I returned home from work and I entered my home through the downstairs entrance of my split level rental home. I noticed a piece of cardboard that looked like a toy package on the floor.I thought little of it as my kid always came away with a new toy when we visited the store and often would not wait until he actually got in the house to rip open his new toy! This was not out of character for our family so I did not give the packaging DNA evidence a second thought. As I walked the hallway to go upstairs to our main living space I noticed more packaging debris..that led to the closed door of my Toy room! I opened the door and to my complete horror ALL of my action figures were missing from the walls of the room..instead in the middle of the space was a mound of shredded packaging. My eyes surveyed the room as shock turned to anger and on my office desk where my Millenium Falcon usually proudly displayed was absent as well. The crown jewel had been stolen…I had a suspicion of what happened. This was not the work of an intruder..this type of carnage could only have come from a child..MY CHILD..my 3 year old son..who happened to be a big Star Wars fan and had his own great Phantom Menace action figure collection. As I gritted my teeth and exited the scene of the crime, I turned and stormed out of the room and headed upstairs where I heard the familiar chatter of my wife and children.As I walked up the stairs, inching savagely forward to the top level, one glance to the right I caught the culprit red handed!!

 

Falcon

There, in the middle of my living room was my 3 year old son proudly swooshing a fully loaded Millenium Falcon in the air with a giant smile on his face completely lost in play! I looked in the kitchen just off the living room area where my wife looked out and simply said “He got into your room…” that was it. My anger at this point was at a terrible boil and I turned again to somehow rescue the remnants of my collection as my son set the Falcon down on the living room table and grabbed more figures still enthralled with his own little universe and with that I was disarmed. A flashback of my younger self reminded me of the sheer joy of playing with my toys and seeing him having that same experience actually made me happy. I was suddenly at peace with the fact that my kid was enjoying the exact same toys that I grew up on and you know that changes a guy. Many years of Father-Son Star Wars play would result and at that exact moment I grew up. I was no longer that adult who beat the kids to the store to clean out the toy shelves so I could add a rare piece to the walls of my man cave. I appreciated what it meant to be a kid who loved Star Wars and really THAT is one of those moments where you just know “The kids (MY Kids in particular!) will be alright!”

PosterSBTU

So just two days out from December 18th my family and I have a stack of movie tickets to Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens and that former 3 year old son is now 15 and cannot wait to see the newest Star Wars film. My wife is also a pretty darn big Disney fan who enjoys a yearly trek to Disney World in Orlando to attend Star Wars Weekends and gets just as excited as the boys to meet the characters! Her Facebook profile is of her wearing her Star Wars T-Shirt posing with Chewbacca! Hows that for geek love..how can you not love a woman like that!! Then on my other side is my latest child who is six and during his many visits to Disney has defeated Darth Vader twice and Darth Maul in his last outings at Jedi Academy Training at Disney World. He is a fan as well with a great Lego Star Wars collection plus the family inheritance of the remaining portions of our collection!! I feel I have become Ghost Obi-Wan, My 15 Year Old Son is now Jedi Luke, and my youngest Offspring is Finn!! Generations of Star Wars love…The Force Is Strong in our Family..My Wife has it..My Children have it…and by god..I STILL HAVE IT!!

 

Well this is where I stop and get off..it has been my honor to share the passion I have for a Galaxy Far Far Away and all the characters that I really love to this day. I hope that tonight you and your significant others turn on one of these movies and you enjoy it as much as a fanboy I once knew in the early 80s whose every minute held his Luke Skywalker figure close and imagination ran wild!

Transmission Ended..

For MORE Super-Hero Satellite Star Wars fun read all past Star Wars posts from yours Truly, The Charlton Hero! Enjoy!

Be sure to check out the rest of the Super Hero Satellites own Star Wars related posts!!

Star Wars Logo

May The Force Be With You!!

Star Wars: The Disney Menace

Star Wars: The Marvel Comics Years

Star Wars: A Caravan Of Ewoks

 SBTU Crawler

Longbox Graveyard: Star Wars Card Trader Enter The Galactic Graveyard Here..

The Retroist: The Force Was Strong With Star Wars Records Nobody Does Retro like Retroist!! CLICK HERE!!

Between The Pages: A long time ago in a bookstore far, far away….
Go Between The Pages..CLICK HERE!!
Son of Crapbox Of Cthullu: The Crappiest Comics In The Universe!! CLICK HERE!!

(Mystery V-Log) Cap N Cummings YOUTUBE Channel : My Personal Star Wars History Unveil The Mystery..CLICK HERE!!

Bronze Age Babies: Star Wars: Season of the Force
Visit the BRONZE AGE now CLICK HERE!!!

Superhero Satellite: Star Wars Episode 7: The Toys Awaken.
Hey..You are already here!!

In My Not So Humble Opinion:Star Wars Sketch Book In MY Opinion you should CLICK HERE!!

 

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Warlord Cataloge Full Page AdWarlordSatelliteHeader

Welcome Back Heroes..

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery..and here is a great example. Action figures were always a passion of mine and I still maintain 90 percent of my collection to this day. I have fond memories of pretty well every toy I ever owned. It fascinates me when I see toy lines from my collection era that I may have missed out on or simply never had the opportunity to buy. As is the case with our topic today. Comic book ads always spoke volumes to me..I wanted everything that were ever featured in the confines of my 24 page treasures. I knew many things featured in my comics such as Twinkies and Slurpee’s were sold only in the USA at that time and I had made peace with that. During my infrequent trips across the border from my home in Canada into the U.S. I would always make a point of hunting down things I could not get at home. I was always pretty successful..however from time to time there was always that one nugget that escaped my grasp…as was the case with Remco Toys.

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Charlton Hero: “Computer punch in coordinates for The Lost World Of Skartaris..we have a date with a group of great Warriors that need our help!”

SHS Computer

Satellite Navigation Computer: ” Locking Coordinates Now Captain..this world of Skartaris is NOT recommended as the world is marked as uncivilized. Do not say you have not been warned human..”

 

 

Satellite Warp GIFWelcome To Skartaris….

Warlord toys

 

Begin Transmission: Oct 26 2015

Founded in the 1940s, Remco Industries, Inc. was a toy company  best known at the time for toys of the late 1950s and 1960s, like the Johnny Reb Cannon, Mighty Matilda Atomic Aircraft Carrier. “Every Boy Wants a Remco Toy…And So Do Girls!” screamed the Remco mission statement! Their time on top of the toy world was short-lived and by the early 1980s Remco was fighting to find their niche in the lucrative Action Figure Boom of the 1980s. Franchises like Masters Of The Universe, Super Powers, Star Wars, GI Joe, and WWF Wrestlers were big hits on the Toys shelves.

Remco entered the lucrative toy market with a thud in 1980 with their line of Universal Monsters Figures. Using a license they picked up in their formative years, Remco tried to strike with recognizable Movie Monster toys. The toys were decent, poorly articulated but a collector’s item now in the 2000’s and yes I had some and in their prime these were pretty darn cool!

Universals Monster Collection

 

  • In 1981 Remco made a stab at hot TV property The Dukes of Hazard.  Yeeeeee Haaa! I loved me some Dukes and these figures of the Good Ole Boys were awesome. These figures used the better style articulation of the soon to be classic GI Joe figure model consisting of joints and a swivel body held together with a rubber band! The Dukes were cool! I was lucky enough to have the General Lee, Bo, Luke, and Boss Hog!! (When it was politically okay to say that!)

My General Lee Collection 1

In 1982 Sgt. Rock figures for DC comics were released from Remco. I was a long time DC comics fan and loved Sgt. Rock comics but I did not have the good fortune to even see any of these figures. I had only seen them in ads in my favorite DC Comic books and I wanted them!! Sadly not one of these ever made it in my collection. I would have loved to have a Sarge figure run a campaign against Cobra with my Joe’s back in the early 80s!

 

SGt Remco

REMCO Warlord Toy ad 3

 

  • Then came the Warlord collection in 1982. Even though I maintained several Warlord Comics in my collection I was never a fan of the character or the title.  I WAS however a fan of the art work, and the damn cool look of the character. Like the Sarge..his collection of action figures did not grace the shelves of my local Woolco, Chain Store or even Dalfens Mall. My home town obviously did not partner well with Remco. The above ad always caught my attention and it was only with the advent of the interwebs was this toy hunter able to finally see what these real figures looked like outside of the carefully drawn versions from the comic print ad.

 

Several of the characters from The Warlord comics became action figures in Remco’s action figure line called “Lost World of The Warlord” . The line included figures like The Warlord himself (Travis Morgan) along with other DC Alum like Arak, Hercules (DC’s Version not to be confused with Marvels Avenger), Deimos, Machiste, and Mikola Rostov.

REMCO Warlord Collection

For those of us who have no idea who or what the hell this Warlord character is..here is your ten second catch up..Warlord first appeared in a series by DC Comics called 1st Issue Special Issue (#8 To be exact!) in November of 1975. 1st Issue Special was unique as it gave the comic buying world a chance to see new characters in their own solo comic without the risk of making a  solo series. Basically it was their audition to the grand stage..or the spinner rack for that matter. Warlord graduated to his own book the following year as Warlord #1 debuted and went on to a very nice 133 issue run ending in 1988!

 

Skartaris-Whos-Who-in-the-DC-Universe

Warlord was born in a 1970s worlds previously envisioned by the likes of Edgar Rice Buroughs (Tarzan)  and Robert E Howard (Conan The Barbarian), and the visionary work of the legendary Frank Frazzetta. All three creators influenced the birth of the Warlord character as they wrote and illustrated a genre of savage lands and worlds filled with sword and sorcery as the world knew it in the 1970s. Warlord was not your typical barbarian..this character had something special about him..

1st Issue Special Warlord

The Warlord was a character named Travis Morgan who was a Vietnam veteran airplane pilot who inadvertently steers his plane through the Earths crust to a brand new Lost World thus beginning the saga of the Warlord. It bears mentioning long time Green Arrow artist Mike Grell was the writer/artist who created the Warlord character taking the artistic reigns through issue #52 (1982) and ending his writing duties with issue #71 (1983) giving him his definitive look. Usually clad in some form of white grab and his winged war helmet Warlord didn’t play games…this war vet wasnt afraid of this Lost World as he packed a special weapon..not a typical sword..but a .44 Automag Pistol!

 

Warlord REMCO

As Warlord navigates this new Savage land he is joined by the ever scantily clad Tara, Machiste, Shakira (Not the singer!) Mariah a handy scientist and years later his daughter Jennifer Morgan.

 

Warlord and Friends via Cosplayers!

                                                Warlord and Friends via Cosplayers!

 

Battling enemies such as the demonic sorcerer Deimos and a host of other basic Sword and Sorcery archetypes was Warlords mission. Surprisingly only one of the above cast of main characters received the action figure treatment…but we did get …

 

Hercules REMCO Figure

Hercules?? The Hercules figure is based on the Hercules Unbound Comics title by DC in 1975 created by Gerry Conway.  Like many things produced in that time he exists in a Post Apocalyptic world like many in the Jack Kirby era. This version of Hercules somewhat tied into the existing Kirby title Kamandi. Unlike Marvels version of the classic Hercules with the beard and brown short hair DC went with a more unique version of the character with long black hair and a notably absent beard! I always wondered where this character came from and was not familiar with the Hercules Unbound title. Looking back the title was short-lived lasting only 12 issues but an interesting fact is that it contained early works of Walt Simonson and one of my personal DC favorites Jose Luis Garcia Lopez!

Hercules 1Hercules Unbound

Apparently this character was not popular with the DC upper brass after failing to garner an audience. This version of Hercules was erased from DC History when it was discovered his existence was merely a dream.However the mess that is the DC Multiverse actually later changed that concept again bringing the character back…only to be annihilated in Crisis On Infinite Earths..Poor DC Hercules!! As with everything DC, Hercules would AGAIN be brought back again in another form during the insanely boring War Of The Gods crossover by John Byrne and even the classic armor from the Unbound series made its return. Confused? Me too.  Eitherway..Remco did release the above very cool Remco Action Figure !

ARAK REMCO

Something about Arak God Of Thunder always caught my eye!! Arak began as a not so subtle nod to Conan the Barbarian. The spin on this character was that he was a Native American hero unlike stereotypical versions seen during the time (I am talking to YOU Apache Chief!!) He was intelligent, did not speak in broken english and was a true badass! Araks first appeared in the pages of Warlord #48 as a special insert comic, as was the rage by DC during this time! Remember kids Teen Titans, Night Force and Captain Carrot all came out of these free inserts so these were awesome!! Arak debuted in his own Roy Thomas written title Arak The Son Of Thunder in Sept. 1981 and went on to a classic 50 issue run with DC!

ARAK 1

The figure showcased above his debut comic shows off their blatant attempt to create a Conan knock off. This look did not last long in the comics and Arak undertook a massive visual change adopting a more traditional Native American stereotypical fringed garb and hair style. Not sure what brought this on but something tells me his likeness was uncomfortably too close to Marvels Conan that other factors may have pressured this change. I’ll have to ask Roy Thomas on that one!!

Arak 16

Many fans may ask..”Hero, who in the blue hell is Arak..and why should I care”  Well here is your ten second catch history lesson! Stay with me on this or just skip to the next paragraph. Arak was the Son of He-No The Thunder God. He took over his fathers mantel after his father was killed in a battle with a Serpent God. He realized that a young Arak was in mortal danger and saved him from harm, a move that ended up eventually killing Arak’s father. He-No had arranged for Arak to be sent out into the waters in a canoe away from the deadly reaches of his enemies. He is later discovered and adopted by Vikings who raise him to adulthood and teaching him all the Viking Battle techniques! Arak now in adulthood, goes on many “Conan” like adventures early in the run of the title but the a creative shift brought about many more science fiction elements like adventures involving demons, serpents, Gods and even Time Travel. One curious thing about both Hercules and Arak was that both characters did NOT appear in the pages of Warlord. So their inclusion in the Warlord action figure line was curious or tells us how little character depth there was in the Warlord franchise that was actually marketable.

Deimos REMCO

Good guys are only as good as their rogues gallery. Deimos was the main foil to Warlord in his core title! He was the Master of Black Magic but Deimos had little depth and was a generic basic villain whose main goal was to rule Warlords land of Skataris. Deimos is actually killed multiple times by Travis Morgan and manages to come back to life with some help from Black Magic several times until he is finally beheaded by The Warlord himself and finally put to rest… Interesting about this figure collection was Remco’s attempt to make these figures very close to the Masters Of The Universe collection. The figures have a generic body with the same crouched stance of the MOTU collection. Check out Deimos cardboard backer it actually says “Plays with Warrior Beasts, Masters Of The Universe, and Blackstar and other 5 1/2 inch action figures!

Machiste REMCO

Remco was not reinventing the wheel with the Warlord collection. This was a very real attempt to cash in on Matells success of He-Man and Company. The character molds were used multiple times after that with other Remco sets. Machiste was another one of Warlord companions..the only one of two of his legit comrades from the Warlord Comic Book Series! I still find it very strange they populated this toy line with only 50% actual Warlord related toys? Either way Machiste met the Warlord as both met were held captive on a Slave ship. Both men fought their way to freedom and from then on Machiste was by The Warlord’s side defending Skartaris from the Evils of Deimos.

Machiste_03machiste

It is unusual that Remco selected this look for the Machiste character as his look very early in his run as a character (He debuted in Warlord #2!) visual changed dramatically. Fans of Warlord know Machiste as “the guy with the Spike-ball hand”. I would have liked to see what the thought process at Remco creative that went into the character selections this line! This would be my guess for this one toy in the collection that still sits in a thousand cases in a Remco warehouse somewhere. I may be wrong. If you were a Machiste fan and had this toy..write a comment at the bottom of this page and I will retract that last statement. Moving on..

Mikola REMCO

 

Then there is Mikola the second “Friend” Remco selected to play with the Warlord action figure line. Mikola Rostov is a handy swordsman who joins Warlord on his battles in the Lost Land but has a very unique ability…hes a Werewolf! His action figure already has him in his transformed state thankfully. The Warlord characters for the most part were not reissued with the exception of the Warlord himself who has at least two more (If not more!!) action figure incarnations and its no surprise. Bottom line the Warlord collection was a thinly veiled version of the Masters Of the Universe collection but it amazes me how little known and collected these were.

 

Warlord Insert Comic REMCO

Remco very creatively partnered with the fine folks at DC to produce a free giveaway insert comic book to bundle with the toys. This was an idea stolen completely from the Masters Of The Universe collection who paired their original collection with very similar comics to give back story to their toys. The Remco books worked a little different as barely any of the characters were seen as main stream and had literally zero marketing push with the exception of two to three well placed comic ads as seen above. Literally this giveaway were many kids first..and last look at the world of The Warlord and friends. The comic however did serve a purpose as it unified all the different character worlds and brought ALL the characters together

warlord cataloge

A rare catalog ad for the Lost World collection and Warrior Beasts. Interesting about this ad is that it shows the very rare Playset and war team sets!! Source: PlaidStallions.com

REMCO wasnt done! Another spin off set figures (Free of DC License fees!! Smart move Remco!!) included..  set of Warrior Beast figures to “Play” with the Warlord collection. See if you can pick out a Skeletor and Beast Man knock off in that mix? The others in the set look like someone raided the Dollar store and glued random Dinosaur heads on He-Man bodies. One point here includes the fact that the same molds used for Warlord and The Wrestling Toys were re-purposed again here!

Warrior Beasts

 

Gecko, Snake-man, Craven, Skull Man, Skull Face, Wolf Warrior, and Hydraz. The funny thing about these toys is that a couple of these even made it to the real lost world of the toy shelves in my home town!! Especially the Skull guy. Take notice on the photo above of the Warrior beasts the infamous Skull-Man is on the bottom left..but on the bottom right is Skull Face!! Yes they used the exact SAME FIGURE AND PUT A NEW HEAD on the mold!! The Skull Face figure is a direct no bones rip off of Skeletor complete with hood and all. Remco must have been happy that Mattel didnt consider them active competition.

 

"Hey..This guy look just like SKULL FACE..." Said Nobody.

“Hey..This guy looks just like SKULL FACE…” Said Nobody.

Someone at Mattel I think had a funny bone as a very Remco like toy was released in the Masters line at the end of its tenure..I present Scare Glow…hmmmm…lol.Familiar? Scare Glow would definately “Play With” the Warrior Beasts line!

 

ScareGlow

Next Remco jumped the Shark from DC to their main competition Marvel Comics!! The result was as you would expect..lackluster.. I present Crystar: The Crystal Warrior..

 

remcocrystar

In 1982-83 Remco paired with Marvel to produce Crystar Action Figures. I was a fan of Marvels Crystar: Crystal Warrior Comic Series and I even remember picking up the guy at the far right with the pointy fingers!! I was so happy to find these toys at a discount store on a trip to a town an hour away from my home I didnt care that I didnt get Crystar!! This was an early attempt by Marvel to jump into the figure market through Remco! It was a dud as was the comic book series that is still fondly remembered but lasted a sad 11 issues.

Conan Remco

  • 1984 brought Remco’s Conan Action Figure line.  If you thought that the Warlord toys were almost too similar to the Masters Of The Universe Collection from Mattel the Conan series is possibly WORSE!! As a little bit of background He-Man himself was meant to be a Conan series as it was originally planned..however with licensing issues and deadlines Mattel went on to create a new property with He-Man and Company. Remco however looked at this flopped deal like printing money. Would this be Remco’s victorious first win in the Toy Market!!??

  • As fate would have it…No. Apparently kids were more than happy with Masters Of The Universe and as a result Conan came off looking like a rip off despite the fact that He-Man was actually designed with Conan in mind!! Did you know He-Mans original concept had black hair!!

 

Remco not to be denied continued to try licensed toy properties this time partnering with Archie/Red Circle Comics to produce The Mighty Crusaders figure line!!

CrusadersToysSHS

I loved the comic book line by Archie mainly due to the fact that they were so rare to buy in my home town. A comic shop would sometimes yield a Crusaders title or two. Even during a scattered trade I would unearth a copy of the Fly..or The Web..or even The Shield!! These characters were cool and very under appreciated so I am glad to showcase the rare Remco figure collection below!!

Crusaders

In 1985 Remco struck again! With the WWF and MTV partnering, Wrestling had become a very hot property! Wrestlemania had just been born and Hulkamania had exploded all over TV sets! WWF and LJN had created their own Wrestling Superstars line of toys and were very successful. Remco wanted in on the action. They hooked up with prominent competition to the WWF, the American Wrestling Association (AWA) . The line boasted and remains popular to this day as it showcased early figures of the Road Warriors, Ric Flair, Shawn Micheals, The Freebirds, and Rick Martel. These figures are highly sought after by collectors and can generate a great deal of money in good condition.!! As well..the line used the molds for Warlord and Conan again! Remco got good mileage out of their early designs!

 

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Other great Remco toys included!

Everyone remembers the Masters Of The Universe Collection but some of those fans rarely remember the heroes from the Lost world. Warlord and his gang were indeed heavily “Inspired” by He-Man and friends and did not sell anywhere near the toys that Mattel did of the back of the mighty Eternian but its fun to look back at their biggest imitator! Not sure how flattered He-Man was with Warlord though?

 

SBTU Contunies

Heroes, back to the command deck we are about to lock in coordinates for our next stop…to a Galaxy far far Away..*Hint Hint* Dont forget Super-Blog Team Up Returns as well in December of this year with a theme that many readers of the Satellite will love. Take care..we will see you in another time..and place.

Hero Out..

Transmission Ended…

 

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Welcome back heroes! The Satellite is very pleased this month to indulge into something that three years ago when I started this thing, was intended to be one of my first topics. Every time I would begin to write I felt I wasnt doing it justice so I finally decided to jump into the fray. As we sit in the briefing room of the Satellite we must become acquainted with the art of war. This Satellite is about to touch down in 1980s Springfield..

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Computer: Captain, this destination is NOT recommended ..Springfield at this time is under occupation..

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Hero: *Smiles* That’s why we are going there computer…initiate landing sequence..

SHS Computer

Computer: Captain, my programming is telling me to inform you this is no ordinary threat that surrounds Springfield..its a terrorist organization known as COBRA!

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Hero: I have a feeling a few friends are about to show up to help rectify the situation…all together with me shout.. “YO JOE!!”

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From Toys to The Page…

I Was introduced to GI JOE initially by the 1982 Marvel comics series G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero. On the way to a summer camping trip on a stop over to a local Pharmacy (Thank You Budget Drug Mart) I scored me an issue of G.I. JOE #2 to take along for long trip ahead. I was hooked! G.I.JOE must have been huge in my home town cause those books were available EVERYWHERE! Not the usual suspects like convenience stores and pharmacies..these crept onto magazine racks in smokeshop’s in Woolco and coloring book racks at Dalfen’s! I could not wait for each issue to hit the stands! I grew up with Hawk, Stalker, Scarlett, Flash, ZAP, Breaker, Clutch, Rock N Roll, and Of course..Snake Eyes!! The Original Joe’s always had a special  place in my heart to the point that when newer Joe’s were introduced I rejected many of them up front if they replaced my originals in the comics!

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The marketing team at Hasbro were smart enough to realize that the more characters they created..more figures could be made and more stories could be written! As a G.I. JOE fan in the 80s we got super served!! Both toy shelves and comic book pages were lined with scores of new Joe’s every few months..but this was something different. The Toy company for the first time used the comic book as its creative foundation!  Many criticize “Toy Books” in the comics industry as being just a cheap money grab that are usually short-lived. Only a small handful were successful like Micronaughts, ROM and of course STAR WARS which all are remembered in high regard. It was the G.I. JOE comic that would forever set the pace for changing the game of the stereotypical “Toy Book” that not only surpassed its life expectancy and expectations but it became the flag bearer for all licensed titles to come.

Gi Joe 1 When you talk how important a comic is to a franchise there is no better example than the Larry Hama written Marvel Comic G.I. JOE : A Real American Hero. This book literally dictated the toy line and the cartoon. Larry Hama MADE G.I. JOE and anyone who is a fan owes this man a debt of gratitude. Hama, at the time was a struggling writer fighting to get a permanent paying writing post at Marvel. On one fateful day he pitched an idea about a splinter group of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents consisting of futuristic Super Soldiers known as “Fury Force”. As with other jobs Fury Force did not get the green light but before the concept was dropped Hasbro came knocking. They were a toy company looking to relaunch an old property from the past G.I. JOE. G.I. JOE was an army based 12″ action figure line that was very successful in the 50s and 60s. Hasbro had the property evaluated but decided to partner with Marvel to develop a back story for their concept..and so was born G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero..and finally a full-time paying writing gig for Larry Hama.

 

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In the meantime Hasbro representatives held court with with Hama, Jim Shooter, Tom DeFalco, Archie Goodwin, and Nelson Yomtov to hash out the direction of their new G.I. JOE concept. It was actually Archie Goodwin who came up with the concept of G.I. JOE’s number one nemesis..C.O.B.R.A.! Hasbro had not factored this enemy force into their original plans. It would be a meeting that Hasbro felt represented what they considered good for this new property and a partnership was born. G.I. JOE rested on the very capable shoulders of Larry Hama who would take great pride in making it work. Faced with the task of bringing character’s to life Hama jumped in and wrote elaborate profiles for each original Joe..much of which made it to the actual packaging of the action figures in the form of classified dossiers for each toy!

 

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Suddenly characters like Scarlett Clutch, Hawk and Stalker had detailed histories. These were not your generic army men..each Joe had personality! Clutch the VAMP driver from the toy line was a womanizing hotshot with a big mouth, Snake Eyes was a silent but violent Ninja with a deep history and a romantic interest in Scarlet. To add an extra layer Hama wrote Snake-Eyes physically unable to tell her his affections due to a war injury that left him speechless. Each one of these characters were something special and were far from generic.

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Hamas first 10 issues would be your classic one and done sort of issues with Herb Trimpe manning the pencil duties and making Joe jump off the pages! Issue one for example featured two short stories. Operation : Lady Doomsday was the official story-line debut of the new and innovative G.I. JOE team in the pages of G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero Vol. 1 #1 in 1982. Some highlights of the first 10 issues were issue #2. As mentioned above the classic Joe’s Snake-Eyes, Scarlett, Stalker, and Breaker are sent to the North Pole on a recon mission where they meet  a special operative named Quinn who is having problems with the terrorist organization C.O.B.R.A.!!

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Issue four screamed to me on the shelves..one of my all time favorite G.I. JOE covers with a very simple group shot with Hawk in command leading the Joe’s into battle! This time the Joe’s REAL leader (Sorry DUKE fans) Hawk, along with Grunt (Who rarely ever appears in the pages of the book after this), and Snake-Eyes infiltrate a cult like military camp suspected of being funded by Cobras.

 

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We were introduced in GI JOE #6 and #7 to a radical concept of a Russian version of G.I. JOE..the Oktober Guard who begin as bad guys only to join the Joe’s against a common enemy ..C.O.B.R.A. With the political Superpower race in the early 80s this concept of a Russian Military group being portrayed in a positive light was controversial for its time. Hama was given the keys to the kingdom and he made the absolute best of his situation. In these issues Stalker leads the Joe’s ( Scarlett, Clutch, Steeler, Grand Slam, and Breaker )on a mission into Afghanistan where they get into a three-way firefight with Cobra and the Oktober Guard. The teams set aside their differences and work together  to stop C.O.B.R.A. from getting control over a Top Secret weapon of Mass Destruction!

 

By issue six Hama continued to pump out great characters as we got our first two-part story..we begin to establish early signs of continuity. Larry was a military man himself and had served in Vietnam. As a result many of the character names and traits were said to have been based on those whom he served with as a tribute! Hama didnt stop at the toy-lines, instead he developed his own set of characters that existed in the G.I. JOE Hamaverse as it was dubbed. We meet Kwinn the massive Eskimo who has no love for Cobra, We meet Dr. Venom(Seemingly The Precursor to Dr. Mindbender) the evil genius behind Cobras experiments and technology. Believe it or not Cobras own femme fatale The Baroness, was a creation of Hama and team and was one character of which Hasbro created an action figure based on the comic book character!! Hama was one of the pioneers of showcasing strong women characters not only on the G.I. JOE team but for the bad guys as well! This fact attested to the strong female readership the title boasted during its run!

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No issue showcased this like GI JOE #9 The Diplomat which showcased Scarlett chasing down a Cobra agent who threatens the lives of thousands as the clock ticks in a fast paced manhunt that shows the girls could go equally as hard as the guys.

As great as the first 10 issues of the book were they were just scratching the surface of what this book would be. At this point G.I.Joe was a certified smash on the newstand and Marvel had another huge hit!! This was no “Toy” book this was a real comic that fans were passionate for..one that would only get better as time went on!

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The Rise of C.O.B.R.A.

The book would carry many central themes that would play out till the books end. First was the rise and self-destruction of C.O.B.R.A.! The origins of Cobra Command and their mission lay in the beginnings of a down on his luck sales man in the town of Springfield. This man hell-bent on making money builds a pyramid scheme that would eventually move from a capital building project to a massive bid for world domination. The elusive Cobra Commander would start from nothing but using his salesmanship to rally a small band of individuals  into a Nazi like cult of industrial terrorists who would begin a war on U.S. soil. Many of Cobras early missions surrounded them trying desperately to arm themselves with weapons of mass destruction only to be turned away at every turn by the Joe’s.

 

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Cobra Commander would go on to build his inner circle with three main unsavory characters. Early on we would be introduced to a weapons manufacturing organization nicknamed M.A.R.S. ran by the silver masked renegade named Destro. Not far behind was the sexy but deadly Baroness the director of central intelligence for C.O.B.R.A. and Destro’s love interest. To fill out his upper brass came the chameleon like Zartan. A master of disguise able to change his identity to perfectly match those he chooses to impersonate. There would be many more added to the mix but these three usual suspects would assist the Commander in all his deadly plans.

The interesting thing about Cobra Command as a group would be the inner turmoil. It was a terrorist organization always on the verge of Civil War. The key players in the organization were never able to trust each other which lead to many interesting stories. Cobra Commander would always be leery of Destro and the fact that he was the provider of weapons to Cobra and thus yielded a lot of power and influence. The two would butt heads many times and like an old married couple they would break up and reunite many times. To make matters worse Baroness was romantically involved with Destro so Cobra Commander could never truly trust her either. It would be Zartan that often proved to be the glue that secretly kept C.O.B.R.A. together. Zartan was instrumental in allowing Cobra their greatest victories over G.I. JOE. He helped them by infiltrating the Joe’s very headquarters and stealing secret intel that would be key to C.O.B.R.A.s mission. The unique dynamic between the central players would prove to be one of Hamas most exciting tools in his tool box when writing C.O.B.R.A.

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The Snake Eyes /Storm Shadow Dynamic.

I cannot recommend G.I. JOE #21 enough. Its dubbed “The Silent Issue” and its a simple story of Snake-Eyes attempting to rescue a kidnapped Scarlett from the clutches of C.O.B.R.A. and Storm Shadow in a castle. Not one word outside of the Title of the story “Silent Interlude” exists in this story and it a master piece of story telling!! It also tells us that no words are needed as the writer has given you all you need to know about these characters and you are completely absorbed in this collection of silent panels. Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes were bona-fide stars in this book and their story is probably the most important one we see in the book!

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One of the most exciting things about G.I.JOE was Snake-Eyes. Clearly the most popular of all the Joe’s, the Silent Ninja Snake-Eyes would be written with high intrigue as his origin was a mystery that haunted readers during the early issues. Slowly Hama twisted the knife slowly revealing Snake-Eyes Story but not giving away the whole story. Snake-Eyes was a truly tragic character. Snake -Eyes would often run military missions with his close comrades Stalker and the man who would become C.O.B.R.A’s number one assassin..Storm Shadow!! A terrible accident would occur where Snake-Eyes would be horribly disfigured in a Helicopter accident on one tour of duty and left for dead. Ignoring orders Storm Shadow would come to his rescue and bring Snake-Eyes back to safety and out of the war zone. Snake-Eyes underwent serious facial reconstructive surgery to repair the damage to his face and heal his wounds of war but would never look normal again. To make matter worse upon his return home he was told that his parents were killed in a car accident leaving him with nothing.

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Snake-Eyes did not give up..in fact he accepts an offer to study the ninja arts with Storm Shadow’s family, the Arashikage Clan. Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow became brothers, battling for the attention the Hard Master. Snake Eyes was touted to take over the Arashikage clan in favor of Storm Shadow. Snake-Eyes turned down the offer noting the issues it would cause with his brother. It would be Zartan—on the direction Cobra Commander, who believed the Joe was responsible for the death of his brother—sent an order for the death of Snake-Eyes. Zartan using an arrow he stole from Storm Shadow mistakenly struck and killed the Hard Master. The Clan was officially dissolved and Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes would from that point on be blood enemies  as Storm Shadow was now believe responsible for the death of the Hard Master. Upon returning to America the Sword brothers would be recruited by opposite military factions, Snake Eyes became a Joe and Storm Shadow donning a White Ninja uniform would join C.O.B.R.A.s ranks and were now blood rivals. This was truly better than I can do justice to describing it. Their respect for each other never goes from the book and Hama takes advantage of that every time these two characters are on the page..Good friends…fierce enemies..this relationship is pure magic in this book!!

 

The Revolving Door

Finally one of the most important themes in the book is The Revolving Door. The title essentially was still a “Toy Book”. The main focus of the book was a 24 page advertisement for the Hasbro Toy-line. Larry Hama did such a great job of writing it seemed the toy-line was based on the comic not vice versa! The reality was that Hasbro had to sell toys and as tastes changed the toys changed to meet the times. New characters, vehicles, play-sets all were developed that also had to appear at some point in the pages of the comic book for better or worse. As a result the cast often rotated. The Original 13 Joe’s that I loved so much did not make it 20 issues before they were replaced with new fresh Joe’s that Kids were buying on the Toy shelves. Main Stays like Snake-Eyes, Stalker, Scarlett and others remained but many were replaced…even their fearless leader Hawk.

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I remember some of the biggest changes such as when Duke officially took over leadership of the Joe’s over Hawk. The Rock and Roll’s and Breaker’s of the world were cashed in favor of fan favorites Road Block and Gung Ho. Steeler and Zap were replaced with Sgt. Slaughter and Shipwreck. Even Duke and Scarlett were put on the back burner for Flint and Lady Jaye. Every time however Hama made us invest in these newcomers and I loved them. The Aforementioned Duke to Flint switch was exceptionally tough for me to swallow. I had began to accept Duke as the Flagship Joe only to have Hasbro sneak Flint (Very temporarily) in that role…I didnt buy it. Sorry Flint..you suck..and your Lady Jaye too!

 

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C.O.B.R.A. was NOT Immune either. Replacements were all over the board. Storm Shadow was momentarily phased out for FireFly, Dr. Venom was killed off to be replaced with Dr. Mindbender. Even Cobra Commander at two separate times was unseated from Command of his own army. Once by Mindbender’s science project the very dumb Serpentor and was even once “Killed off ” and replaced by one of his own Crimson Guardsman Fred. Anyone remember the awful New Cobra Commander suit?

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Yikes. All in all the main cast were rotated back into the mix and the replacements took their rightful backseat. It would be the changes and rotations that would essentially begin the slow death of the title. As Hasbro began going off the deep end with new creations and variations on new characters the book began to feel less special and began to show signs of it being a “Toy Book”. C.O.B.R.A. brought in horrible characters like Boa (Cobras Boxer) , Croc Master (Cobra needed a Crocodile Handler apparently??) and the ultra stupid C.O.B.R.A Accountant,Raptor the teams very own Bird Man? Like every good project the G.I.Joe series suffered in this writers opinion due to a lack of creative direction on Hasbro’s design team who served Larry Hama a plate of crap to attempt to make a steak dinner but to no avail. The title of the book changed in its dying days in a last-minute hail mary to rejuvenate the title by having the book named after Snake- Eyes…and here it comes…Ninja Force!!!??

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Yes even Snake-Eyes who now led the title was saddle bagged with a neon  colored  Ninja team who simply fought neon colored foes in a spectacular heap of awfulness. As much as I hated it..the book I loved simply did not exist anymore. I kept buying though..no longer with the same vigor..if I missed an issue or two it was okay. Finally someone with good sense (Hama!!) stopped the Ninja Force experiment dead in its neon tracks…then it got WORSE. In a gimmick to save the book that s when Marvel went to the crossover well and Transformers appeared in a story arc with Snake-Eyes and the Joe’s teaming up with C.O.B.R.A. to cause havoc.

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I will give credit where credit is due..Hama attempted to go back to his roots with GI Joe in 145 with a return to many of the original team members but declining toy sales created desperation in new character development. Horrible concepts like GI JOE’s S.T.A.R. Brigadewere introduced…yes Joe’s special Space task force arrived sadly in the pages of the book. S.T.A.R. Brigade made Ninja Force seem like an Alan Moore project in comparison. The End was near…

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The End…

Then IT happened. Long before the days of the internet there was no good way accessible to me to read up on future happenings in titles..so as I picked up G.I. JOE number 155 off the newstand a wave of sadness hit me as the caption on the top of the cover yelled “This is it..The FINAL Issue of G.I.JOE A Real American Hero. I was on my way to a friend’s house on my bicycle and that day at “Butlers Grocetreria” I collected  the Final issue of G.I. Joe. The only time I had ever felt like this was at the cancellation of the Marvel Star Wars title in 1986. Part of my childhood was killed off and I knew at that moment I would never collect comics with the same passion again..which remained true for many years. The book was more to be that 24 pages of throwaway action it represented every ounce of joy I had discovering the comic, and the action figures as a kid. It was a memory of the sheer adrenaline rush I had when the original mini series debuted on TV…it was a huge cache of memories that I kept alive with that one comic!!

 

GI Joe Last issue

 

I have a passion for the things I collected growing up but these particular comics gave me so many memories of what it meant to be a comic kid back then. Many kids these days wont have that same rush you get rotating that spinner rack and seeing that new issue of your favorite title for the first time and rushing home to see what great story was inside. Thank you to Larry Hama for making this simple Toy-line into a fond childhood memory. So as we head back into orbit I can’t help by throw my fist in the air alongside my comrades and yell a hearty “YO JOE”!!

 

Till Next time Heroes!!

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The mighty S.B.T.U. has returned and welcome back heroes to our sixth official event! For those new to Super-Blog Team Up, welcome to a blog experience like no other. For those faithful out there..a hearty WELCOME BACK!! As you all know the S.B.T.U. are a collective of like-minded comic book bloggers/podcaster’s who have come together to save blog readers from the boring abyss of the blogosphere. The team comes together quarterly to each take a turn putting our unique spin on a singular topic!

This time around its everyone’s favorite topic.. TOP TEN LISTS! Don’t worry there will be no bait clicking here.All lists will be contained within one page of each blog..no clicking each number of the list to get to number one!! Well enough formality…you are now on-board the Super-Hero Satellite. We ask that you strap in tight..this Satellite is equipped with the technology for time travel. Todays destination will be the 80s and in the offices of DC Comics! We present the Top Ten 1980s DC Comics that were cancelled before their time.

Begin Transmission: May 6th 2015

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10: Ambush Bug: Poor Irwin Shwab a down on his luck shlem. His friends Arg Yle The sock and Cheeks The Wonder Toy, were companions to Bug who was a man with a mental condition who thought he was a superhero. Irwin had the ability to teleport with a device inside a green insect like skin suit he found. Ambush Bug was an intentionally a comedic character who gathered quite a following in the mid 80s. He popped up in a number of titles and was the DC universes very own nuisance. After a one shot special and two mini series, Ambush Bug drifted into obscurity as fast as he entered the DCU. He would re-appear out of the blue several times more but the honeymoon was over. The comedic aspect of these books would not fit in with the new direction of DC today…however in the 80s..this was comic gold. Ambush Bug was not a case of cancellation but rather a case of what was not meant to be. After the strong reaction to his mini series, the Bug was primed for a solo series debut, however with shifts in creative at DC and changes in the comic book landscape..poor Ambush was simply shelved and not revisited. Ambush Bug remains a soft spot in my heart as it was on a trip as a kid to the “Big City” that I visited a local Comic Book Store and purchased my first Ambush Bug issue (Son Of Ambush Bug #1) along with an issue of the Direct Only Legion Of Super-Heroes #1 Baxter Series!! It was also on this day that I passed on a book that the comic store owner told me was great..Watchmen #1. Who wanted that right? Especially at cover price…Besides it had a stupid cover. Yikes..what was I thinking!! Hindsight my friends..

 

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9. Night Force: In 1982 the comics industry Horror market had, with all intents and purposes, died. Hits like Tomb Of Dracula had expired and interest in the genre had waned. So it came as a surprise when Marv Wolfman of New Teen Titans fame decided he wanted to do a new horror title which would be a hard sell to DC or any company at that time. Wolfman convinced DC and along with Horror master artist Gene Colan, they went to work on this new horror concept, Night Force. It was cool because it avoided going to the cliche well by not going with classic horror movie monsters (Like Dracula) and they created a new group of Horror characters. It centered around a sorcerer Baron Winters, who played the puppet master to a team of Supernatural Demon Hunters. They tracked the Supernatural in what ever place or time it existed. Winters could send his team back in time or where ever the threat may appear. The Night Force cast was not consistent (One of the knocks on the series) and the series rotated members in and out which always kept the book fresh. The high hopes that Wolfman preached did not add up to sales on the newsstand. The cancellation was based on early direct sales numbers which Wolfman contested. The Newsstand sales had come in much later, the book had actually performed pretty well. It was too late as the book was sentenced to its death. I compel you to find these issues in a back issue bin somewhere as these books were ahead of its time. It was brought back (sans Gene Colan ..which was the heart of the book IMO) twice, but the magic was not there. One cant help but think Night Force would make a great AMC or Netflix Series these days…you heard it here first kids!

 

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8. Vigilante: Screw the Punisher.In 1983, after the pending demise of Night Force, Marv Wolfman paired up with one of the  best artists in the industry, George Perez. Together they created a hard-hitting, very adult themed, violent book based loosely on a Golden Age western character of the same name. The Vigilante was an exercise in unevenness. Obviously inspired by Marvels Punisher, The Vigilante began his campaign of revenge following the murder of his family by a gang of Mobsters. Adrian Chase, was a successful District Attorney hell-bent on seeking vengeance for his family. The Vigilante was different in the sense that he didnt “Have it all together” sometimes his violence escalated into killing the innocent. He even gave up his identity for a period of time with two others taking up his mantel. When he made the call to return to the hood..the sad part was it was too late. *Spoilers* The Vigilante spiraled into a dark place and went on a killing spree that included bad guys, police, and whoever go in his way. Upon realizing his mistake he was taken over by overwhelming grief. The Vigilante took his own life which at the time was groundbreaking. This book was overlooked by many which is a shame as some writing credits went to Alan Moore and Paul Kupperberg. This was also one of the early Direct Market only books which many newsstand fans may have totally missed out on. If you like great writing..and you like the Punisher, then read the book that set the bar for violence in the 80s!

 

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7. Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew : I loved Harvey Comics and I loved Funny Animal Comics! DC was not exactly known for their kids books…but boy they went out and delivered one of the best one that was ever published. Like a Heavy Metal band writing an amazing ballad, DC swung for the fences making one of the first Super-Hero Funny Animal teams!! I grabbed every Captain Carrot book I could find with my allowance money of a very rich 20 bucks. (Thats was BIG money in the 80s as a kid people!!) The Zoo Crew was the funny animal version of the JLA..and this kid was hooked. You had Captain Carrot (Superman), FastBack (The Flash), Alley Cat Abra (Zatanna) Yankee Poodle (Captain America meets Wonder-Woman) Rubber Duck (Elongated man/Plastic man) and Of course the Metal Pig…PIG IRON (The Thing meets the Hulk!) Interestingly enough..the Zoo Crew as they were called, often crossed over with regular DC Cannon. Cap met with Superman several times and even battled Starro just like the original JLA!! Of course after a great start and hot sales, Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew became lost in the shuffle. The final nail was driven into the coffin of the era of the funny animal books. Cap of course would return in several cameos throughout the years but I am still looking forward to the day a full on Zoo Crew book is relaunched!! To Read more about the Zoo Crew, the Satellite has covered these crazy super animals in detail..check out this link!!

https://charltonhero.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/super-blog-team-up-4-prequel-capes-and-carrots/

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 6. Manhunter: Anyone remember Marvels Secret Invasion? You know, its the one where The Skulls infiltrated The Marvel Universe and stole a number of heroes identities. No one could be trusted. They could be a Skrull!! Well anyone who collected comics back in the mid 80’s knows of a little DC Comics Crossover event known as Millennium. The Green Lantern’s old nemesis, The Manhunters, infiltrated the DC Universe long before any Skrull! Once again..No one could be trusted! Manhunter’s literally took the place of many people in the DC Universe. Well as successful as Marvels Secret Invasion series was..Millenium was equally unsuccessful. DC seemingly produced a great crossover until it went off the rails at the end as its conclusion. It was notorious for spawning a brand new Super Team..The New Guardians. Sounds great right! Guess what..they absolutely SUCKED. Anyways..On to this Manhunter Solo Series. This Manhunter was yet another public defender named Mark Shaw, who as well was disillusioned with the justice system who sought out a mysterious underground sect of crime fighters called the Manhunter’s. Historically the Manhunter’s were a group of crime fighting Androids who’s mantra was “No One Escapes The Manhunters” . Eventually the Manhunter androids would go too far in Shaw’s mind as they attemoted to take over the Guardians and destroy the DC Universe!  Shaw would escape their ranks and go on to don a Ninja influenced uniform and spent his time kicking ass. I will admit back in the 80s I was a fan of Ninjas..and while this book comes off as total **** today..in its time..in its place..I thought Manhunter’s were the coolest thing ever!!

 

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5. Blue Devil: When you collect comics one of the best thing about the hobby was trading! Cashing in a few of your undesirables for some brand new books that you wanted. One mans garbage is another man treasure…as was the case on this particular trade. While I cant remember what the book I traded, I fondly remember grabbing Blue Devil #2. Blue Devil was brand new to me at the time and just looked damn cool!! He was a muscled up Blue skinned, Big Horned…uhhh well Devil! He wore a big giant collared singlet and toted a super charged pitch fork. Well while it may sound terrible..Blue Devil was charming. The title didn’t take itself seriously and there was a lot of self parody. You better believe the rouges gallery were one for the ages. The Devil combated the likes of Shockwave, Godfrey Goose, Roadmaster, The Green Gargoyle and more. I always though the fact Blue Devil was never a member of  Keith Giffens Bwah Ha Ha version of the Justice League was a missed opportunity. I think DC mishandled his return to the New52 most recently, making him a dark Demon Hunter who killed off Demons with his Trident Of Lucifer!! I  cant help but think this book deserved better! In the right comedic hands this book could return or he would make a great accent to a team!! By The way…he was good enough to be on the Justice League Unlimited TV series so that has to stand for something…right??!!

 

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4. Hex: The Future was never the same when Jonah Hex was teleported from 1875 to the year 2050 with guns a blazin!! I may not be joined by many on this but, this was my all time favorite incarnation of Hex! From the gunslingin wild west to the post nuclear Mad Max inspired dark industrial future, Hex took on a Futuristic Batman, Giant metal Robots, a Chain Saw wielding crazy cyborg and even fought his own girlfriend Stiletta! The book lasted a mere 17 issues due to poor sales and a horrendous creative switch late in the series. Mark Texiera was the titles original artist and visually made the book look and feel cant miss!! However..Keith Giffen (Who has been mentioned several times in this article) at the time had adapted completely an abstract noir art style that literally put the fork in the title. It was THAT bad. While this series gets no love on the web..this reader would insist on the HEX title returning for one more run! Hey,there’s a new Mad Max movie coming out this year…its time for Hex to return back to good ole 2050!! I go into extreme detail on this title and more in one of my favorite Satellite posts “Hex Style”. https://charltonhero.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/hex-style/

 

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3. Booster Gold: On what Earth did a slick talking, Super Jock Celebrity Thief, from the year 25th Century get cancelled? No justice I say! Booster Gold was originally portaryed as a disgraced character from the 25th Century who was caught cashing in on Football Games that he was playing and intentionally throwing for his own personal financial gain. Well one night as he was working his new blue-collar security job (After being fired from his career in disgrace!) in a Space Museum Micheal Jon Carter would steal everything he needed to get his life back! Lifting a slick magnetic Gold Power Suit…one Legion Flight Ring and even a Force Field belt..he was transformed into the Futures #1 Superhero Celebrity..whether they were ready for him or not! With his Robotic companion Skeet’s, and as well his Time Traveling buddies like DC’s father of Time, Rip Hunter, Booster was set for sure success upon his solo debut in 1986 . With Dan Jurgen’s at the helm Booster lasted a mere 25 issues and his last issue came out during the ill fated Millennium crossover. With these characters and creators on the books side, the character had unlimited potential.While Booster was highly positioned in big events several times over the years and even received his own book again, he can never seem to keep readers at the door. This is DC’s most underrated and misused character and Booster deserves better. Booster was given a lease on life after the cancellation when mastermind Keith Giffen (I am still mad at him for ruining Hex!!) used him for his infamous Bwah Ha Ha Justice League book where he became a comedic buddy cop team with…well he happens to be next..Its Blue Beetle!!

 

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2. Blue Beetle: Years ago companies like Charlton Comics were in an industry Turf war to stay relevant in the comics landscape of the 60s and 70s. Charlton had Marvels former number one artist Steve Ditko,fresh off his run on The Amazing Spider-Man. Ditko was famous in Charlton Editorial Offices for churning out book after book ,hoping something would stick..well one that didn’t interestingly enough but would be brought to life years later in the DC Universe was Ditkos Ted Kord..The Blue Beetle! No not that Jamie Reyes crap..Ted Kord damn it! Beetle debuted around the same time that DC was trying a bunch of new titles in 1986 for a minimal 24 issue run. Like the aforementioned Booster Gold, DC would have plans for Booster and Beetle in the new 1980s mega popular Justice League where they became the new dynamic duo of slapstick. Both characters were reborn in a new comedic light but did not receive their own team book at the time when they were white-hot which was a critical mistake. So much has happened to both characters that this book would not make sense to reunite them without the pre 52 history intact. There’s still hope DCs newest crossover Convergence can fix some of the lost magic!

 

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1. Batman and The Outsiders: Batman shouted “I’ve had ENOUGH of your two-bit JUSTICE LEAGUE…from now on these are my NEW PARTNERS!!” as he quit the JLA on the front cover of one of my favorite all time comic books….Batman and The Outsiders #1.

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I was a HUGE Batman fan as a kid. It’s all I wanted to do was role play the dynamic duos adventures with my best friends. Of course Batman was a key member of the Justice League as well and I loved that he was part of a bigger team. It always seemed that the Caped Crusader was held back in the JLA…so when I heard he was quitting and making his own team I couldn’t wait to see who this new team would be! In 1983 in a special insert edition within the pages of The Brave and The Bold the Outsiders debuted! The shape shifting Metamorpho, was joined by the electric cool Black Lightning, Sword wielding Katanna, the dreamy Halo, and earth shattering Geo-Force whom along with Batman himself made up this unconventional team of heroes. I loved them…they were not mainstream but they were my Super Group! After 32 issues Batman left the group and the characters went on their separate ways. The book was never the same… The Outsiders have been brought back to life several times in many failed efforts but Batman and the Original Outsiders never reformed. (Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 2 came close!!) It was one of the lost Gems of the original DC ..one I would love to be reborn in the New52 era. Get on it DC!!

End Transmission…

 

Well..thats all folks...I would love for those who agree or disagree with this list let me know what YOUR picks are below in the comments section. My list is just that..MY LIST..it is by no means meant to be a definitive list created from years of data and opinion. Maybe you like it…maybe you dont..but you have a right to be wrong..lol. Anyways..lets not stop there…as promised the team has loaded the deck with ton more of awesome Top Ten lists..but dont take my word for it…take it away team!!

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There are plenty more Top Ten Lists to go…Please Visit the REST of the Super-Blog Team Ups Family Of Blogs!!

 

1. Longbox Graveyard: Top 10 Super-Dogs – http://wp.me/p1yye7-2IH

2. The Unspoken Decade: Top 10 Avengers Moments – http://theunspokendecade.com/2015/05/04/sbtu-presents-top-10-biggest-avengers-moments-of-the-1990s/

3. In My Not So Humble Opinion: Top 10 Avengers Sketches – https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/top-ten-avengers-sketches/

4. Legion Of Super-Bloggers: Top 10 Who’s Who Legion Entries – http://legionofsuperbloggers.blogspot.com

5. The SuperHero Satellite: Top 10 DC Comics Titles That Ended Before Their Time- https://charltonhero.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/super-blog-tea…ore-their-time/.

6. Flodo’s Page: Top 10 Green Lantern Ring-Slings …That Don’t Appear In Modern Continuity – http://flodospage.blogspot.ca/2015/05/top-10-green-lantern-ring-slings-that.html?spref=tw

7. Fantastiverse: Top 10 Avengers Greatest Super Battles – http://fantastiverse.com/ Coming Soon!

8. Mystery V-Log: Top 10 Avengers Covers – youtu.be/6cX1THVk3-k NEW!!

9. Idol Head Of Diablou: Top 10 Most Important Martian Manhunter Villains – http://idol-head.blogspot.com/2015/05/podcast-top-10-most-important-martian.html

10. Marvel Superheroes Podcast: The Top 10 Avengers (An Age of Ultron Tie-In)

http://marvelshp.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-top-10-avengers-age-of-ultron-tie-in.html

11. Chasing Amazing: Top 10 Favorite Moments Of The “Chase” – http://www.chasingamazingblog.com/2015/05/06/super-blog-team-up-top-10-moments-of-chasing-amazings-chase/

12. Between The Pages: Top 10 Wackiest DC Comics Covers –

http://betweenthepagesblog.typepad.com/between-the-pages-blog/2015/05/top-10-wackiest-dc-comics-covers.html

13. Bronze Age Babies: The Top 10 Bronze Age Characters (x2!) – http://bronzeagebabies.blogspot.com/2015/05/super-blog-team-up-top-10-bronze-age.html

14. Too Dangerous For A Girl!: Ten Best Super-Heroic Hairstyles –

http://dangermart.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/super-blog-team-up-top-ten-worst-heroic.html

15. Vic Sage Via The Retroist: TBD – Top Ten Comic Character Deaths

http://www.retroist.com/2015/05/06/super-blog-team-up-6-top-tens/

16. I’m The Gun: The 10 Best All-Star Squadron Covers!

http://imthegun.blogspot.ca/2015/05/super-blog-team-up-10-great-all-star.html

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